The MC presented each performance told a few jokes jokes and brought the audience to laughter. She is Janet Piatek, one of the RGrannies dancers.
The only original member of the group, Adrienne Hart, 80, is the boss of the Rhinestone Grannies. She said ,”We do about 60 shows a year throughout San Diego County. I’ve been doing it for the past 20 years.(Hart was 60 years old when she started).
I didn’t start dancing until I was in my 50s because I had been Agoraphobic for 20 years and afraid to leave my house. There was a lot of pain and struggle but finally it was through the Lord healing me.” More info on her struggles with Agoraphobia yet to come.
“One of the MCs that we had about five years ago went to church with John (Richardson) and suggested that we ask him if he would like to come and sing a song or two with our group”. Hart said that since he was the Platters that he would not be interested in RGrannies. “He came, and he sang, and he loved us!” Richardson has been singing in the show as special guest for several years now.
Active in special events outside the RGrannies, Janet Piatek, 72, also heads the performance group for the San Diego InLine Dancing. She said, “ I’m also involved in drama, Vaudeville Theatre, and Trinity Theatre, I’ve performed at OnStage Chula Vista. I do stand-up, I do Phyllis Dillinger.”
Piatek is happily married and the couple were both involved in an exhibition dance team in San Diego called ‘Hooked On Country Dancers’.
That lasted four to five years and it was just for fun, she said. She said the RGrannies is a wonderful experience and that dancing keeps women young. “People seem to get a lot of joy out of watching us because it kind of brightens their day.”
Being an RGrannies for 10 years, Betty Cleveland, 89, enjoys dancing, gardening, and has to keep moving, that’s her motto. “I feel better when I move and I don’t wanna sit. I don’ t like sitting.”
She seemed proud to say, “I have 16 grandchildren, and my husband and I raised four sons, and I have three great grandchildren. I’m just happy doing the normal things that most grandmothers do.”
Cleveland shared some words about Richardson, “Oh, he’s wonderful. You mean John James? Oh yes, he’s one of our group, absolutely. He’s a big part of our group.”
Clothes designer, Charlyn Marks, 73, RGrannies, was a little nervous because the stage was a little narrow which meant that their performances would be a little cramped. “We have to adjust. Sometimes we dance in places that have pillars, sometimes wheelchairs that we have to dance around so that’s something we learn to adjust to.”
According to Michael Aronstein, dancer/music production, the stage was small and had no depth, which made it difficult for the RGrannies to do much of their choreography.
The beautiful costumes you see are all created by Marks, of course, with support from all the ladies in the group. Marks and one other lady in the RGrannies travel to the Garment District in Los Angeles and buy materials, jewelry, and extras.
It takes her about one hour per costume sometimes and if she sews nine in one day, like their traveling outfits, she finishes the costumes in one shot.
Her dedication pays off when the curtain drops and the costumes sparkle from the stage. She started in 2008 and makes costumes for any theme that the RGrannies represent in each act. The show included songs from Broadway and Film.
This RG has been dancing with the group for over 10 years, Crystal Heringer, 78, and she said, “I’m going to dance as long as I can dance.” She’s the only one in the group who can do the splits, she said. Heringer danced 20 years before R Grannies with her granddaughter. She also said that dancing keeps her young.
A RGrannies for over six years, Karen Bain, 64, said "this experience with these ladies has been absolutely wonderful. They’re giving, loving, and talented and I’ve enjoyed every second of it.” Bain is also a hula dancer which she has mastered since the age of seven as her first “love”.
Retired RGrannies, Joan Miller, 89, danced with the RGrannies for 14 years. She said, “I decided I had enough, and this girl who took my place is younger, and she can dance better.”(Karen Bain)Miller said, “She does Hawaiian dance, she did that for years before she joined us.
She took my place and she could wear my clothes. Some of it she paid for and some of it I donated it. For 14 years I had a ball. I don’t feel bad.” She said she loved the performance, that they were good, had beautiful outfits, “they did those dances perfect. I don’t feel bad. And these girls are so darling, might as well have the best.”
A retired Financial Analyst for the City of San Diego, Jan Tierney, 72, said
“I used to attend The Hag show which was in La Mesa and that was a long long time ago...and it was at the VFW in La Mesa, and it was kind of a review like this.”
She heard of the Platters but she didn’t know he was going to be at the show. Tierney was out celebrating Nancy Campbell’s 80th birthday and they both dropped in. They loved the show, Tierney said.
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